My tent sits at the back of the Tecopa Hot Springs campground with Grimshaw Dry Lake behind me; the trailer parked in the foreground is unoccupied and the white dusting on the ground is minerals coming to the surface, not snow

Bicycle camping in and around Mojave National Preserve 2006

Day 8: Tecopa Hot Springs to Shoshone and back

16.6 miles, 1:16 hrs, 28.4 mph max, 12.6 mph avg

Morning again. Time for a very light day of cycling, and time to sleep in a bit. Tecopa Hot Springs feels like a great place to do this. I'm tired after yesterday's long ride and feel like I could get easily stuck here and stay for years.

The men's "cool pool" at Tecopa Hot Springs

When I finally get up because the tent is getting too hot inside, I walk over to the showers and soak in the hot pools for a while. I sit in the "cool pool" for about ten minutes, and it's quite warm despite the name. Then I decide to try out the "warm pool" for a while, which starts to feel rather hot after a few minutes.

This can be a very social place and people come from all around to visit the area and relax in the naturally warm water. Nudity is required in the pools and the men's pool is separate from the women's pools.

I end up chatting for about an hour with a guy who now lives in Pahrump, Nevada, some 25 miles away from here.

He calls Pahrump the obesity capital of the USA. Like me, he's a city kid at heart and we end up talking mostly about places like New York City and San Francisco. Our chat started while we were sitting in the hot pools and is continuing while we slowly dry ourselves off.

The pool building at Tecopa Hot Springs

He flatters me, probably intentionally, when he turns to a quieter guy drying off next to him and points out jokingly that my slim body is what a human being is supposed to look like.

Out of the showers, I walk into the office next door to pay for a second night at my campsite. It's so nice that I don't need to pack up everything today. I buy a couple of bags of chips, a bottle of juice and a large can of iced tea. There is no other store in town, so this little convenience is a welcome one.

I walk back to my tent, and just as I arrive, Billy, the bicycle-touring guy that I met at the showers last night arrives in his little car with his dog.

Just as I am thinking how much I enjoy the little brook near my tent, Billy informs me that the brook is just the drainage water from the hot pools and showers. So much for natural charm!

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